Gov. Paul LePage brings his town hall tour to Portland, speaking at the Abromson Center at the University of Southern Maine on Dec. 8, 2015. An audience member holds up a sign as LePage leaves the room. 
Photo by Derek Davis/Portland Press Herald/Getty

After two terms as governor, LePage announces he’s leaving Maine

It wasn’t long ago when Maine Gov. Paul LePage (R), eyeing the end of his two terms as the state’s chief executive, announced his intention to run against Sen. Angus King (I). Facing inevitable defeat, the governor later backed off.

So, if Congress isn’t the cards, what’s LePage’s next move? Evidently, he’s running away from the state he’s helped lead for eight years. The Portland Press Herald  reported yesterday:

Gov. Paul LePage said Monday that he plans to move to Florida for tax reasons and teach at a university there, regardless of who Mainers elect to succeed him.

“I’ll be a resident of Florida if Janet Mills wins, I can promise you that,” LePage, referring to the Democratic gubernatorial nominee, said with a smile one day before Maine voters head to the polls.

“I’ll also be in Florida if Shawn Moody wins because I am going to retire and go to Florida,” he said.

The governor went on to clarify that he intends to spend part of the year in Maine, but he would establish his legal residency in Florida, rather than the state he’s served.

As Rachel joked yesterday, if LePage “had let Mainers know ahead of time that he was going to flee the state permanently as soon as he left office, that might have shed helpful light on some of his governing decisions.”

In terms of the race to replace him, state Attorney General Janet Mills (D) appears to be the favorite over Shawn Moody (R), a businessman who founded a chain of auto-body repair shops. Because Maine is Maine, there’s also an independent candidate, Treasurer Terry Hayes, in the race.

LePage benefited from multi-candidate fields in both of his contests, winning thanks to Democratic and independent candidates splitting the center-left. In fact, LePage was first elected despite winning only 37.6% of the vote in 2010.